Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2014
2022 - #10 Wine Spectator
Intense, bright, and luminous golden hue. Dynamic effervescence with a continuous stream of fine bubbles. Intense, fragrant bouquet of great purity. Concentrated and candied citrus fruit mingle delicately with grain notes and lightly roasted almonds. The lovely sensation of big ripe fruit is balanced and lifted by energetic fresh tangy overtones—a fruity palate with a silky texture, complemented by soft bubbles that are perfectly integrated and deliciously elegant. The purity and perfection of the ripe yellow fruit melt into the intense chalky freshness, typical of Cristal, which is powdery and saline. Dense, juicy, concentrated, and long on the mid-palate, thanks to the spicy and sappy structure resulting from partial aging in large oak vats (foudres). The finish builds to a crescendo, revealing a rich grainy, and a velvety texture that is wrapped in a long, saline, and superbly elegant finish.
This vivid Champagne shows up-front and linear definition, thanks to rapierlike acidity, with finely meshed flavors of ripe black cherry and mandarin orange fruit, raw almond, anise and cardamom spice as well as a touch of honeycomb, which all unfurl and expand on the fine, creamy palate. Sleek acidity continues through to the finish, with additional racy character provided by a streak of minerally saline and chalk, which gains momentum through the midpalate and rings out on the well-cut, lasting finish. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Drink now through 2040. 9,181 cases imported.
The 2014 Cristal is another in a long line of gorgeous wines from Roederer and long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. A dazzling, vibrant Champagne, the 2014 impresses with a stunning combination of fruit density and linear energy that brings to mind a hypothetical blend of 2012 and 2008. At times, the bubbles feel totally wrapped up in waves of creamy, resonant fruit to the point the mousse is barely perceptible, especially with aeration. The flavors are bright and finely sculpted, leaning very much into the citrus, floral and mineral end of the spectrum.
An enlightened expression from a season of extremes, this has intensity, ripeness and depth of fruit that is underpinned by chalk soil-derived structure and freshness. Complex nose with lemon and grapefruit aromas, as well as closed red apple, blood orange, light biscuit spices and toasted hazelnuts. Super fresh. The palate starts pithy and fleshy with pink grapefruit, blood orange, red apple, sliced strawberry and nectarine. Expansive and mouth-filling build that is driven by concentrated fruit, Then it tightens and turns to a more mineral edge, before smoothly honed phenolics finish it long. It is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay, 32% oak fermentation in those same proportions, no chaptalization, no malolactic and a dosage of 7g per liter. From organically farmed grapes. Very complex, it strikes a natural balance and is very drinkable already, though will develop well for more than a decade in the cellar.
# 1 TOP CELLAR SELECTION of 2022. Still young, with toast aromas and shining white-fruit flavors, the latest release of Cristal is just setting out. A dry, tight core of intense flavors is shot through with minerality from the pure chalk soil of the 45 individual parcels in the blend. Drink this wine from 2025
t’s always educational, and a treat, to taste the latest vintage of Louis Roederer’s flagship Cristal Champagne. This cuvee is sourced from 45 separate plots covering just under 200 acres spread between the villages of Verzeny, Verzy, Beaumont-sur-Vesle, Aÿ, Avize, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Cramant. The vineyards are farmed either organically or biodynamically and are planted to a 60/40 split of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay ... The 2014 fits in nicely in recent vintages and has a style all its own, showing a fleshy, round, nicely concentrated style reminiscent of the 2012 yet not quite the precision of either the 2008 or 2013. Gorgeous and classic Cristal stone fruit, chalky minerality, white flowers, almond paste, and subtle toast emerge on the nose and it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a supple, almost creamy texture, terrific balance, and a great finish. It’s surprisingly approachable yet I’ve no doubt it will evolve nicely given its mid-palate depth and overall balance. It’s beautiful today and a terrific Cristal to enjoy over the coming two decades or so. It’s unquestionably more approachable than either the 2013 or 2008, but not far off qualitatively.
The rollercoaster growing season of 2014 is reflected to perfection by the innate tension here; ripe citric fruit and even a touch of exoticism (mango and fig) tempered by a fine shard of acidity and a lifted ethereal character, described paradoxically by chef de caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon as ‘weightless density’. Purity, energy and power make for very happy bedfellows, courtesy the chalky terroir and its organic husbandry. The texture is silky, the bubbles joyfully integrated and the finish resourceful and precise, its salinity deferential to the deep-digging roots.